The City of Johannesburg has urged residents to continue paying for water and lights services as it grapples with financial issues caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
The city said that it ‘escaped a total service delivery shutdown’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, mainly because of ratepayers who kept their municipal accounts up to date ahead of the lockdown.
“One of the greatest impacts of Covid-19 included the financial devastation that saw many ratepayers unable to pay their municipal bills, while the municipality was also unable to pass the 2020/21 Budget on time due to the lockdown.
“As a result, the continued supply of water and electricity, as well as waste collection services across Johannesburg communities, was placed at risk,” it said.
The city said that it faces major service delivery issues if customers continue to fail to pay for services.
“The non-payment for municipal services consumed by residents poses a significant threat to the continuation of basic service delivery and exposes the city to increased water and electricity load shedding interruptions designed to balance demand and supply.”
The city said that its refuse removal service Pikitup may also be forced to reduce waste collection frequency schedules in some areas in a bid to cut costs.
“The city has been going to great length in building up the 2020/21 budget, which is mostly made up of revenue collected from municipal services rendered, grants and municipal taxes.
“However, with revenue collection still at a low, continuous service delivery is still at risk, and therefore requires that ratepayers who can afford to pay to do so.”
Johannesburg resumed full credit measures on outstanding municipal accounts on 24 August as it aimed to recuperate losses from the lockdown.
The city said it will offer some credit-control assistance to ratepayers who have been hit hard by the lockdown include payment arrangement plans – smaller instalments over a longer period of time.
Since the beginning of the lockdown, the City said it has been affording ratepayers relaxed payment terms.
“Ratepayers who need to enter into a payment arrangement may send their requests to [email protected] or visit their nearest customer service centre across the City’s regions,” it said.